Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best held a press conference Wednesday to announce an investigation was being launched into the riots which took place in the city over the weekend. One aspect of the weekend’s events the Police Chief discussed was a van which was seen following a small group of violent rioters. Witnesses saw people taking weapons out of the van and police later seized it and found it was full of homemade weapons and armor.
On Wednesday, Best told reporters that officers saw a van following a group of protesters around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, before it stopped outside the East Precinct. At about the same time, she said, explosions started going off outside the precinct.
Best said a witness later told police they had seen baseball bats and explosives inside the same van earlier in the day.
Police later impounded the van and, after obtaining a search warrant, discovered firework pyrotechnics, smoke bombs, stun guns, bear and pepper spray, makeshift spike strips and gas masks, Best said…
Seattle Police Sgt. James Lee, who works with the department’s arson/bomb squad, said his team also found remnants of a Molotov cocktail that exploded near King County’s juvenile detention facility, which is under construction.
Sgt. Lee discussed photos of items found in the van, including a taser and homemade spike strips which were intended to flatten the tires of police bikes. Lee also showed photos of canisters of bear spray which he said had been “causing burns and itching and stinging to their face and exposed skin.” Chief Best interjected that the use of bear spray on human beings was a “federal offense.”
Four construction trailers were burned out during the riots Saturday. A Starbucks coffee shop was vandalized inside and out and then set on fire. That shop was on the ground floor of an apartment building. The fire department evacuated that building and, fortunately, put out the fire before it got out of control. A total of 59 Seattle police officers were injured Saturday. Chief Best said the items found in the van were “evidence that not everyone that comes to these protests is peaceful.”
I think most of us have figured that out by now but there are still plenty of progressives in the media downplaying the violence as if it weren’t very significant.
The obvious question based on the presentation is who is behind this. No arrests have been made yet so we can’t identify any of them by name. During a Q&A after the press conference a reporter suggested it was worrisome that this van contained hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of equipment and had caused a lot of mayhem in the city yet the police knew nothing about who they were. Chief Best smiled and replied, “Well, nothing I’m going to share today.” So hopefully that’s an indication that they do have some leads and arrest will happen soon.
In a report about the press conference, King 5 repeatedly referred to “anarchists” and said some were from out of state. There’s a mention of court documents but no link to any documents in the published story. So we’ll have to hold out a little longer to see where this is going and if these people will turn out to be organized anarchists/Antifa.
Here’s the King 5 report.